Modeling blood flow in glaucoma and peripheral arterial disease
Theoretical models of blood flow can be applied to multiple diseases to address controversies that arise from clinical observations. For example, in glaucoma (a serious ocular disease leading to vision loss), it is unclear if impaired blood flow to the retina is a cause or effect of glaucoma. In peripheral arterial disease (a disease resulting from a major arterial occlusion), the potential efficacy of therapies that rely on new vessel formation versus the dilation of existing vessels to restore tissue perfusion is debated. Here, two adaptations to a mechanistic model of blood flow regulation are applied to these diseases to simulate (i) cause-and-effect relationships between retinal blood flow and oxygen levels in glaucoma and (ii) the relative contributions of short- (acute) and long-term (chronic) vascular adaptations to the collateral arteries and distal microvasculature in peripheral arterial disease. Preliminary glaucoma model results predict flow and oxygen levels for arterial and venous networks within a mouse retina. Preliminary occlusion model results show that peripheral arterial disease shifts the site of primary vascular resistance from arterioles to collateral arteries and that collateral growth is necessary for restoring tissue perfusion.